Sep 192013


Plankton Portal uses crowd-sourcing to classify strange oceanic creatures

Today, an online citizen-science project launches called “Plankton Portal” was created by researchers at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS) in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and developers at Plankton Portal allows you to explore the open ocean from the comfort of your own home. You can dive hundreds of feet deep, and observe the unperturbed ocean and the myriad animals that inhabit the earth’s last frontier.

The goal of the site is to enlist volunteers to classify millions of underwater images to study plankton diversity, distribution and behavior in the open ocean. It was developed under the leadership of Dr. Robert K. Cowen, UM RSMAS Emeritus Professor in Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF) and now the Director of Oregon State University‘s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and by Research Associate Cedric Guigand and MBF graduate students Jessica Luo and Adam Greer.

Millions of plankton images are taken by the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS), a unique underwater robot engineered at the University of Miami in collaboration with Charles Cousin at Bellamare LLC and funded by NOAA and NSF. ISIIS operates as an ocean scanner that casts the shadow of tiny and transparent oceanic creatures onto a very high resolution digital sensor at very high frequency. So far, ISIIS has been used in several oceans around the world to detect the presence of larval fish, small crustaceans and jellyfish in ways never before possible. This new technology can help answer important questions ranging from how do plankton disperse, interact and survive in the marine environment, to predicting the physical and biological factors could influence the plankton community.

“ISIIS gives us a new view on plankton, enabling us to see them in their natural setting, where they occur, what other organisms are nearby, even their orientation,” explains Cowen.

The dataset used for Plankton Portal comes from a project from the Southern California Bight, where Cowen’s team imaged plankton across a front, which is a meeting of two water masses, over three days in Fall 2010.

According to Jessica Luo, graduate student involved in this project, “in three days, we collected data that would take us more than three years to analyze.” Cowen agrees: “with the volume of data that ISIIS generates, it is impossible for us to individually classify every image by hand, which is why we are exploring different options for image analysis, from automatic image recognition software to crowd-sourcing to citizen scientists.”

“A computer will probably be able to tell the difference between major classes of organisms, such as a shrimp versus a jellyfish,” explains Luo, “but to distinguish different species within an order or family, that is still best done by the human eye.”

Read more . . .


The Latest on: Plankton Portal
  • 9 wildlife websites for citizen scientists who want to save the earth
    on August 12, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Condor Watch, an initiative from those on the frontlines of condor conservation, can help. Plankton Portal asks you to mark images of plankton taken by underwater imaging systems in the Mediterranean and off the coast of California. The photos then go on ... […]

  • NASA Phytoplankton Bloom Photos More Like 'Water Art' Come to Life
    on December 16, 2015 at 1:16 am

    The blog Plankton Portal wrote that plankton blooms are common throughout the world's oceans, depending on environmental conditions. "Generally phytoplankton (plankton that use photosynthesis like plants) need nutrients and light to grow at very high rates ... […]

  • So You Want to Be a (Citizen) Scientist?
    on September 29, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Plankton Portal enlists citizen scientists to identify images of plankton, snapped by the In Situ Icthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS), an underwater robot engineered at the University of Miami and funded by NSF and the National Ocean and Atmospheric ... […]

  • Sharing the Coast Conference set for March 13-15 in Newport
    on March 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    NEWPORT — From plankton to whales, from seabirds to marine debris, this year’s Sharing the Coast Conference offers a wealth of information ... keynote talk on “Citizen Science and the Plankton Portal.” Saturday’s other plenary session speaker ... […]

  • New sensor offers local view of ocean acidification
    on November 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    That's potentially harmful to shellfish and to plankton that form the basis for the marine food ... The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched a web portal to let anyone access the data from the monitoring stations. &ldquo […]

  • Citizen science: Help classify plankton in waters off southern California
    on September 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

    You can, with a little training. Scientists could use your help classifying plankton at the Plankton Portal. Plankton is a term that refers to a wide variety of organisms that live adrift in ocean waters. They come in many sizes, from thousandths of an ... […]

  • Take A Peek Through The Plankton Portal
    on September 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Plankton are an incredibly important part of the ocean. Phytoplanton form the base of the marine food web and zooplankton include an incredible variety of organisms, from curious critters called copepods and chaetognaths to young jellyfish, larval ... […]

  • Plankton Portal uses crowd-sourcing to classify strange oceanic creatures
    on September 17, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Photograph of a dense aggregation of hydromedusa Solmaris rhodoloma found off the coast of Southern California, October 2010, taken using the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS) on board the NOAA R/V Bell M. Shimada. Each medusa is about 2 cm long. […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: